Eats, shoots and leaves…

I get TechRepublic e-mail newsletters at work. They usually have great tips on IT topics. This one I got a couple of weeks ago, though, was hilarious!

Correct comma use
Are your users sticklers about using correct grammar and punctuation in the documents they write or edit? If so, they’ve probably learned (and informed you) that Word’s built-in grammar checker doesn’t always catch the punctuation errors that users find themselves.

There’s only one way to be absolutely, positively sure that documents don’t contain extraneous commas, and that’s by reviewing every comma in the document. Here’s how.

Press [Ctrl]H to open the Find And Replace dialog box. In the Find What field, type a comma, leave the Replace With field blank, and click the Find Next button. When Word locates the first occurrence, inspect the text to make sure you’ve used the comma correctly.

If you decide that the comma is extraneous, click the Replace button. Word will replace that comma with “nothing” and search for the next comma in the document. If you determine that you’ve used the comma correctly, click the Find Next button, and continue your review.

That process helps you identify superfluous commas. Missing commas, on the other hand, are another story. Your users will have to proofread their text the old-fashioned way to locate places where commas are necessary.

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One Response to Eats, shoots and leaves…

  1. Don says:

    Lynne Truss’ book (Note the apostrophe without an additional “s”?) was a lot more fun than TechRepublic’s instructions.

    I think that they should suggest that you do a search and replace for ” ” to locate potential positions of missing commas.

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